The New Catechism and the Optimism of the Redeemed

Norris Clarke on Person, Being, and St. Thomas

David L. Schindler

Fr. Norris Clarke has recently published an important book on St. Thomas's metaphysics of the human person (Person and Being [=PB], [Marquette University Press, 1993]). The book, presented in the distinguished Aquinas Lecture series at Marquette, expands considerably on an article by Clarke which appeared in Communio ("Person, Being, and St. Thomas" [=PBST] [Winter 1992]: 601-18). Clarke calls his reflection "a creative retrieval and completion" of St. Thomas's own dynamic notion of being: although Aquinas understood being as intrinsically self-communicative and relational through action (cf. the work of de Finance and Gilson), he never really developed his philosophical notion of the person. Clarke therefore seeks to remedy this.

Much indebted to Fr. Clarke in my own studies in metaphysics over the years, I would like with this note to try to nudge him still further along the exciting path he has opened up within Thomism.